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Accreditation Application Process

To obtain an application, please visit the Staff Directory at the link below and e-mail the discipline specific manager to request an application. 

The Commission on Dental Accreditation has launched an Online Submissions Portal. When the application for accreditation is ready to be submitted, the program will email a completed Administrator Verification Sheet to the appropriate Commission staff, and submit payment and accompanying Initial Application Payment Cover Sheet to the Commission’s secure lockbox address, as listed below. Do NOT mail payment to the Chicago Avenue address. Please make certain you are using the most current Initial Application Payment Cover Sheet, linked below.

Please be certain to fill out the Administrator Verification Sheet completely, and carefully follow all the instructions on the Initial Application Payment Cover Sheet, before you submit either document.

After you have emailed the completed Administrator Verification sheet, CODA staff will make arrangements to open a Portal site for the program (the program director will have sole access) and will email your unique login information to you. The application process will be initiated when both the application and payment are received.

Please be sure to mail your application payment, along with a completed Initial Application Payment Cover Sheet, to:

American Dental Association
28094 Network Place
Chicago IL 60673-1280

Access the Online Portal below and links to the documents related to the online submission of applications:

Online Portal

CODA Application Process: 

The Commission on Dental Accreditation has two application processes, one for programs that are fully operational with enrollment and the other for programs that are developing and do not have enrollment.

Upon request, the Commission office will provide more specific information about the application policies and procedures, types of programs, application materials, deadlines for submission and accreditation standards. Program administrators and faculty are encouraged to consult with Commission staff during this initial process.


Those programs that have graduated at least one class of students/residents and are enrolling students/residents in every year of the program are considered fully operational. These programs will complete the self-study document and will be considered for the accreditation status of "approval with reporting requirements" or "approval without reporting requirements" following a comprehensive site visit (Please see procedures for the conduct of a comprehensive site visit).

Because accreditation is voluntary, a program may withdraw its application for accreditation at any time prior to the Commission conducting the first on-site evaluation. When an accreditation status has been granted, the program has the right to ask that the status be discontinued at any time for any reason.


Programs That Are Not Fully Operational: A program which has not enrolled and graduated at least one class of students/residents and does not have students/residents enrolled in each year of the program is defined by the Commission as not fully operational. The accreditation classification granted by the Commission on Dental Accreditation to programs which are not fully operational is "initial accreditation." When initial accreditation status is granted to a developing education program, it is in effect through the projected enrollment date. However, if enrollment of the first class is delayed for two consecutive years following the projected enrollment date, the program's accreditation will be discontinued, and the institution must reapply for initial accreditation and update pertinent information on program development. Following this, the Commission will reconsider granting initial accreditation status.

Initial Accreditation is the accreditation classification granted to any dental, advanced dental or allied dental education program which is not yet fully operational. This accreditation classification provides evidence to educational institutions, licensing bodies, government or other granting agencies that, at the time of initial evaluation(s), the developing education program has the potential for meeting the standards set forth in the requirements for an accredited educational program for the specific occupational area. The classification "initial accreditation" is granted based upon one or more site evaluation visit(s).


The application for accreditation of a dental or dental-related program is considered complete when the following criteria, as applicable, have been adequately addressed in the application.

  1. A dean/program director/program administrator, as applicable, who meets the requirements of the discipline-specific standards, has been employed at the time the application is submitted and at least six (6) months prior to a projected accreditation site visit.
  2. The program is sponsored by an institution that, at the time of the application, complies with the discipline-specific accreditation standards related to institutional accreditation.
  3. A strategic plan/outcomes assessment process, which will regularly evaluate the degree to which the program’s stated goals and objectives are being met, is developed.
  4. The long and short-term financial commitment of the institution to the program is documented.
  5. Contractual agreements are drafted and signed providing assurance that a program dependent upon the resources of a variety of institutions and/or extramural clinics and/or other entities has adequate support.
  6. A defined student/resident admission process and due process procedures are developed.
  7. A projection of the number, qualifications, assignments and appointment dates of faculty is developed.
  8. An explanation is included of how the curriculum was developed including who developed the curriculum and the philosophy underlying the curriculum. If curriculum materials are based on or are from an established education program, there must be documentation that permission was granted to use these materials.
  9. The curriculum with general course and specific instructional objectives, learning activities, evaluation instruments (including, as applicable, laboratory evaluation forms, sample tests, quizzes, and grading criteria) is developed.
  10. Evaluation instruments for laboratory, pre-clinical, clinical, and clinical enrichment experiences are developed.
  11. If the capacity of the facility does not allow all students to be in laboratory, pre-clinical laboratory and/or clinic at the same time, a plan documenting how students/residents will spend laboratory, pre-clinical and/or clinical education sessions has been developed and is included.
  12. As applicable, policies and procedures such as a patient recruitment system; patient classification system; an ionizing radiation policy; an infection control policy; and a student/resident tracking system are developed.
  13. As applicable, the adequacy of the patient caseload in terms of size, variety and scope to support required clinical experiences is available.
  14. Class schedule(s) noting how each class will utilize the facility are developed.
  15. As applicable, diagrams or blueprints of the didactic, laboratory, pre-clinical laboratory and clinical facilities, and equipment needs are developed to support the anticipated enrollment date.